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NIC
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Joined: 10/04/2007 22:56:27
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Location: Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire
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Grazie, Salvatore, che bello.

Nick

Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Pete
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There are several forum messages on 9 Commando and I decided to place this here as several of the people mentioned in the following report are also mentioned on this forum message. It is an account by Major Leslie Callf MC and bar of an action by 5 troop of No.9 Commando that took place not long after they had lost almost 50% of their strength at Monte Faito/Ornito. It is known as Callf's charge :

Below is an account written by Les Callf:

Account of ?Callf?s Charge? by Maj. Leslie Callf MC and bar, 3rd March 1944 ? at the time Captain commanding 5 Troop, No.9 Commando
"My most thrilling and proudest moment of the war was in leading my troop in an attack against a superior force of paratroopers at Anzio. We had hardly recovered from our attack on Mt Ornito/Faito, suffering about fifty per cent casualties, when we were called back to Anzio as the situation there was critical. We landed on 3 March and 5 Troop was ordered straight into the front line sector held by the 9 Royal Fusiliers with orders to deal with a troop of German paratroopers who had infiltrated and taken over part of our lines.
5 Troop was about half strength, mustering one officer and twenty-eight ORs. We arrived at first light (05.45 hrs) and contacted the officer-in-charge for information as to the enemy's whereabouts. The only information was a vague wave of his hand down the wadi with the words, "There . . . somewhere down there . . . I've just been promoted Major!" With these words the officer disappeared down his dugout and left us to it. The wadi was a deep ravine with stunted trees and foliage, about thirty feet down to mud and water, but it was the only cover available, so we had to use it. The assault team under Corporal Bostock pushed ahead with covering from the Bren-gun team on the highest part of the wadi. We usually did our raiding and fighting patrols in the darkness but this was special and urgent and we had to find them quickly, which we did, rather too quickly, in broad daylight. The enemy were well dug in on high ground overlooking the wadi and they opened fire with automatic weapons, slicing Corporal Bostock's trigger finger off as he returned fire. Casualties occurred through the troop. Corporal Searle quickly replied with mortar smoke as we regrouped. Corporal Bostock, assisted and covered by Hopkins and Belasco, reported back to me, and standing rigidly to attention, asked permission to fall out as he'd lost a finger - all this during enemy machine-gun fire!

The only way was a good old-fashioned bayonet charge.

We left the wadi and spread out in the dead ground below the enemy positions, with Brens on the flanks giving covering fire. Fusilier Storey, who was lying just behind me, was killed instantly as we were getting into position. Every man always carried two No. 77 smoke grenades so that a smoke screen could be created for about two throws of about forty yards. They knew the drill; throw and run through the smoke. This was the moment, and one I shall never forget. In broad daylight we had to cover about sixty yards of open ground against German paratroopers, well dug in. I looked to the right of me and the left and to CSM Walsh next to me, and gave the order, "Throw!" and as the smoke formed, "Charge!" and in we went, hard. I think we must have looked a fearsome body as we came through the smoke onto them. Many of them were killed and others put their hands up. We suffered three killed and nine injured. I'm not sure of the German casualties, but the official report gave twenty-five killed and twenty-three POWs, which was approximately twice the strength of No. 5 Troop on that day."


Tommy Bostock was awarded the Military Medal in an earlier action just one month before the action described above by Major Leslie Callf MC. Here is the citation for the award of his Military Medal ( from the book Commando Gallantry Awards of WW2 by George A. Brown.)

Bostock,T, 3659812,Pre(Act /Cpl),L/Cpl ,S.Lancs Regt, No.9 Commando MM(Immediate) . Action at Monte Faitao night 2nd-3rd February 1944, Map Ref .858043,Italy Sheet.1:50,000 sheet 160-II.During this action this NCO showed a standard of initiative determination and leadership far above that expected of an NCO of his rank. During a period of heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire in the Unit, in which severe casualties including 50% of the officers were injured ,he showed exemplary courage, discipline and determination to continue on the final objective. Although this Unit was under enemy mortar and small arms fire, he led his section on to his objective,which was captured and all the enemy in the particular Company HQ were either killed or captured. Although the position was still being heavily mortared, L/Cpl Bostock reorganised his section and started to lead them forward once again onto a secondary objective until ordered to withdraw. L/Cpl Bostock showed similar determination and courage in two previous operations .During operation 'Partridge'(Gargliano River' operation night 29th-30th December) he unhesitatingly led his section through a minefield where several casulaties occured, and drove the enemy from a defended position which would otherwise have held up the advance of the main force.During 'Operation Shingle' (Anzio Landing) ,L/Cpl Bostock led a fighting patrol far into enemy territory , and after he had been separated from his section he captured eight prisoners single-handed.In all actions this NCO had shown exemplary courage,leadership and determination.(LG.29.06.44)

This message was edited 7 times. Last update was at 07/08/2011 19:17:10


Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Cdo. God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.

**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
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faito44
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Joined: 13/05/2010 13:41:08
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Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy new year full of joy and peace.

Salvo
Pete
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Our thanks to Tim Petrocchi who has kindly sent in correspondence sent to him by Major Les Callf MC and bar regarding the Marble Roll of Honour and also details of a pilgrimage trip they made back in the 80's to the area. I have placed the two documents alongside the album we have for the photos of the memorial in the War Graves, Memorials, and Plaques gallery and added a link to the No 9 Commando history page.

View the Gallery entry here: Mount Ornito Memorial


Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Cdo. God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.

**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
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Doug
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Joined: 15/05/2007 03:23:23
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I believe Jock Port's son climbed to the cairn two years ago. If you have a familiarity with the Italian language there is a veteran's hall in Castelforte. I'm sure they would help. Unfortunately, I do not speak the language and the best that I managed was to get my wife invited inside for a drink. Naturally, I was excluded !

Doug
 
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